DA drops domestic violence case against ex-Texas coach Chris Beard

AUSTIN, Texas -- A Texas prosecutor on Wednesday moved to dismiss a felony domestic violence case against former Longhorns men's basketball coach Chris Beard, in part because of the alleged victim's wishes not to prosecute.

Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said that after a review of the evidence, and considering the wishes of Randi Trew, Beard's fiancée, his office determined the charge of assault by strangulation/suffocation-family violence could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

"I am pleased with the announcement that the charges against me have been dismissed. While I always had faith and confidence in the truth and this outcome, it has been extremely challenging to wait patiently and not publicly respond," Beard said in a statement Thursday. "I'm sorry and deeply remorseful to my family, friends, all my players and staff both most recent and past, and everyone at my alma mater The University of Texas, including the fans and supporters who were affected by this situation. I would also like to thank all those who have reached out to express encouragement and love during this difficult time."

Beard was arrested Dec. 12 after Trew called 911 and told officers Beard strangled, bit and hit her during a confrontation in his home. She later said Beard acted in self-defense and that she never wanted him prosecuted.

"Everyone knows that Coach Beard has maintained his absolute innocence since the moment he was arrested,'' said Perry Minton, Beard's attorney. "Additionally, this district attorney has a well-earned reputation for being very tough regarding domestic violence cases. The fact that Mr. Garza's review resulted in this determination so quickly says a lot. We are very pleased.''

Garza defended his office's record of pursuing domestic violence cases, noting it has secured more than 1,000 convictions in family violence cases since 2021, with more than 200 people going to prison.

"Our office takes all domestic abuse cases seriously to ensure justice for the victims,'' Garza said. "In every case, we are obligated to evaluate the facts and evidence and do our best to reach an outcome that will keep the victim and our community safe.''

According to the police affidavit in support of Beard's arrest, Trew initially told officers he strangled her from behind to the point where she couldn't breathe for several seconds. The affidavit listed several visible signs of an altercation, including bite marks on her arm and abrasions on her face and leg.

According to the affidavit, Trew initally told police "he choked me, bit me, bruises all over my leg, throwing me around and going nuts.'' Her later statement did not address why she called 911 or several of the physical injuries described in the police report.

Texas suspended Beard without pay the day he was arrested. He was fired on Jan. 5 when Texas officials told Beard's attorney he was "unfit'' to lead the program.

A University of Texas spokesman declined comment Wednesday.

Beard had five years left on a seven-year guaranteed contract that included a provision saying he could be fired for cause if he was charged with a felony or committed other behavior unbecoming of his position or that reflected poorly on the university.

The university's vice president of legal affairs, Jim Davis, wrote in a letter to Beard's attorney on the day the coach was fired that Beard engaged in "unacceptable behavior that makes him unfit to serve as head coach at our university." Whether Beard ultimately faced charges would not determine whether Beard engaged in conduct unbecoming of the school, Davis wrote.

The Longhorns have been led by interim coach Rodney Terry since Dec. 12. They are ranked No. 6 in the latest Associated Press poll and share first place in the Big 12.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.